Originally published under the title, "'I killed because they were spies'."
Ankara mayor Melih Gökçek (left) with President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan
This columnist's first of a few encounters with Melih Gökçek, the unchallenged mayor of the Turkish capital since 1994, was through a press release from the municipality, sent by fax to this newspaper, in the mid-1990s. It was grotesquely (but cutely) signed: Melih Gökçek, Lord Mayor of Ankara. It caused laughter in the newsroom. But no one knew the Lord Mayor of Ankara would not always be naively amusing.
In 2011, the nationalist-turned-Islamist Mr. Gökçek promised to erect an Algerian genocide/massacre monument right across the French Embassy compound in Ankara if the French parliament went ahead with a bill recognizing the Armenian genocide. In fact, Paris ended up recognizing the Armenian Genocide, but Mr. Gökçek's monument still remains to be erected right across from the French Embassy compound. Meanwhile, French defense companies are making an impressive comeback to the lucrative Turkish market, with President François Hollande having risen to become President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan's "new Berlusconi."
Last summer, when a Turkish-Kurdish pop star wrote on her Twitter account, "May God bless Hitler," the popular mayor of Ankara replied: "I applaud you!" And when hundreds of angry Turks hurled stones and rocks at, and tried to break into, the Israeli diplomatic missions in Ankara and Istanbul, the Lord Mayor of Ankara said: "We will conquer the consulate of the despicable murderers." Just like the Algerian genocide monument waits to be erected, the Israeli diplomatic missions remain to be conquered.
Mr. Gökçek may have a couple of unkept promises to the people of Ankara. He may have the habit of applauding people who admire Hitler. But the Lord Mayor's more important virtues make him absolutely eligible for either of two strategic positions: The head of counter-intelligence at the National Intelligence Agency (MİT) or the head of the anti-terror unit at the special operations unit.
"It is certain that Mossad is behind these kinds of incidents."
Ankara mayor Melih Gökçek
Commenting on the Paris massacre, the Lord Mayor suggested that Israel was annoyed with the Lower House of French Parliament for voting for the recognition of a Palestinian state, and with France's vote in favor of a United Nations Security Council (UNSC) resolution calling for the same recognition. He unmasked the plot: "Israel certainly doesn't want this sentiment to expand in Europe. That's why it is certain that Mossad is behind these kinds of incidents: Mossad enflames Islamophobia by causing such incidents."
So now the world has learned the real culprit behind the murders. The French prosecutors and the International Criminal Court know which organization to indict for the killings: Mossad, the same silly spy network that in the past was caught red-handed by sending spies of various bird species to Turkey, with metal rings around their legs stamped "Israel."
Meanwhile, other Turks who use the same logic to impress may be less lucky. In 2011, one of two Turkish celebrities who was accused of raping call girls defended himself by saying that the whole incident was an "Israeli plot against him." This author has not since learned whether the man targeted by Israel was found guilty or acquitted.
And last year, Ziyaettin Yaraşır murdered Sultan Kaymaz, the owner of a driving school in Istanbul and the wife of a garrison commander. Yaraşır faces a life sentence for the murder. At the latest hearing a few days ago, Mr. Yaraşır, in his defense, claimed that "Mrs. Kaymaz's real name is Hülya Çevik and he was her ex-lover." But not just that: The defendant also claimed "the victim's family had raped his mother, poisoned his father and killed his brother." And that he killed the victim because "all of these people are Mossad agents!"
The court ordered a thorough medical check to determine whether the suspect is sane and accountable for his actions. Your columnist is not convinced that the man is insane. With his pragmatic and creative thinking, he could even have won a municipal election somewhere in Turkey, if not the capital. He's just an unlucky soul.
Burak Bekdil, based in Ankara, is a columnist for the Turkish daily Hürriyet and a fellow at the Middle East Forum.